With the Rays now at 29-45, it's time for them to make the decision on whether or not they will trade starting pitcher David Price. He is one of the best left-handed pitchers in the entire game and would surely net them two or three top prospects to add to their farm system.
Teams around the league know that the Rays trading Price is a definite possibility and some of them are looking to get as much information on him as possible.
Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that the Toronto Blue Jays, St. Louis Cardinals, San Francisco Giants, Cleveland Indians, and New York Yankees were scouting Price at his start Friday.
Like Jayson Stark of ESPN.com has reported, I have heard from people in the league that the Rays absolutely will not trade Price within the division, so that rules out the Yankees and Blue Jays.
The Giants are an interesting fit. They have been connected to Chicago Cubs pitcher Jeff Samardzija a good amount recently and are said to have serious interest in him. Adding Price to their already good rotation would be bad news for the rest of the National League West. A rotation featuring Price, Madison Bumgarner, Matt Cain, and Tim Hudson would be downright scary. A scout I talked to recently told me that a trade package involving Kyle Crick, Heath Hembree, and Andrew Susac may get a deal done.
The Cardinals do not need a guy like Price. Their pitching is already good, as they have the third best team ERA in baseball with a 3.19 ERA going into Friday. What they do need is a good offense. They have scored the sixth fewest runs so far this season and desperately need another hitter or two. I'm sure they'd love to add Price, but they will likely use their resources on different positions.
What I said about the Cardinals is the complete opposite for the Indians. Their hitting has been good this season, while their pitching has been below average. If they acquired Price, they'd have Price, Corey Kluber and Justin Masterson, which would be a very good trio. In December of 2013, the Rays asked the Indians for Carlos Santana, Danny Salazar, and Francisco Lindor, according to a report from Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. The Indians wisely balked at the deal.
Any team that wants to acquire Price has to have assurance that he would sign a long-term deal with the team. No team is going to want to gut their farm system for one and a half years of Price.
Many believe this is the year that the Rays finally trade the 28-year-old. It is not a foregone conclusion, but it does appear to be likely. In 15 starts so far this season, he has gone 5-6 with a 3.93 ERA and a 121/10 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
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